Notices
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Former roadie needs advice

Old 07-16-20, 10:33 PM
  #1  
Dick Chainey
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: East of Austin, Texas
Posts: 12

Bikes: Lemond Zurich

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Former roadie needs advice

I'm 70 and getting back into cycling after a 15 year lay-off. I've brought my old Lemond Zurich out of retirement, but I don't think I can any longer safely negotiate road traffic. Right now I'm sticking to neighborhood streets near my home. I'm thinking I will switch to off-road paths in parks and nature trails. There are two state parks, at least 3 LCRA parks, and a number of nature areas close by, with a variety of surfaces. As a stop-gap I'm thinking of replacing the narrow road tires on my Lemond with some fatter tires, just to see how well I (and my bike) can handle rougher surfaces. I've kinda got the new bike fever and have been looking at cyclo and gravel bikes...maybe a bit down the road. Anyway, I was questioning how stable my road bike will be on trails, and how wide a tire I can get on my road clinchers. I don't want to make it too damn hard to clear the tires through the brakes either.
Dick Chainey is offline  
Old 07-17-20, 12:20 AM
  #2  
HTupolev
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,434
Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1544 Post(s)
Liked 497 Times in 262 Posts
Originally Posted by Dick Chainey View Post
Anyway, I was questioning how stable my road bike will be on trails
Depends on you and the trails.

Some well-regarded gravel bikes, like the Open UP, have what's basically a traditional road geometry. It can be just fine as long as things aren't too technical.

Best way to find out is to try it and see what happens.

and how wide a tire I can get on my road clinchers.
The road clinchers aren't the problem. While there are reasons to use wider rims when using wider tires, going a bit outside of what a rim is designed for isn't something to fuss over when you're starving for tire width.

The big question is how wide your frame and/or brakes can fit. Since you have the frame in hand, you're going to be the most capable of figuring this out. Look at how much clearance there is around your current tires at places where they're close to the frame or brakes, check how wide they are, and estimate from there. Every 2mm of additional tire width will make the tire about 1mm wider on each side, and a bit taller as well. It's good to leave a few millimeters of clearance for safety.

Unfortunately, from what I can find through googling, most Zurich frames won't take much wider than a 28mm tire, if that. 28mm can be fine on smooth hardpack, but will likely become troublesome as the surfaces get more interesting than that.

I don't want to make it too damn hard to clear the tires through the brakes either.
Just partially deflate the tire whenever you have to remove a wheel. And whenever you fix a flat, just don't pump the tire back to stiff until the wheel is on the bike.

Last edited by HTupolev; 07-17-20 at 12:23 AM.
HTupolev is online now  
Likes For HTupolev:
Old 07-17-20, 02:40 PM
  #3  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,321

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 970 Post(s)
Liked 216 Times in 173 Posts
I tried that (before "gravel bikes"). Didn't work too well on the rough stuff (rocks, washboard, dirt potholes), although it is fine on rail trails. It can be a good starting point. Road bikes tend to be stiff (even "compliant ones in those days), tend to have short wheelbases, and limited tire clearance. Not ideal.

I'm fine on crushed limestone on 28mm tires, and spend most of the summer on 32mm on my gravel bike and dirt roads - but that bike just soaks up washboard in ways that bikes 15 years ago just don't.

Your frame (not wheels) will be your limiting factor - both in getting the tire between the calipers, and likely the brake bridge (possibly the seat tube and chain stays too).

You don't want to buy new wheels for a rimmed brake bike, but tubeless tires allow you to go nice and low in pressure without worrying about pinch flats - and that is a game changer. You can try low pressure on your current tires/wheels - - just be prepared to change a tube if you get a pinch flat.
chas58 is offline  
Old 07-17-20, 03:35 PM
  #4  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,277 Times in 798 Posts
Sewup cyclocross tires * are the way to go for lower pressures, Given Tubeless clinchers have burped all the air out at once in corners occasionally ..

*the racer's choice for that specialty.. + few Pinch flats, the rim the tire is glued onto has a smoother edge - corner.. ..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-26-20, 05:07 AM
  #5  
Garfield Cat
Senior Member
 
Garfield Cat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Posts: 6,934

Bikes: Cervelo Prodigy

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 398 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 21 Posts
At 70 years, if you cannot safely negotiate road, then off-road will just present even more skill level demands. Stay on the Lemond and actually enjoy it on the road. Can east of Austin TX be that dicey on the road?

There are 70 year olds who are still working with very little compromise. I mean working physically as well as mentally. Its about the marbles.
Garfield Cat is offline  
Likes For Garfield Cat:
Old 07-26-20, 05:36 AM
  #6  
fishboat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 791

Bikes: Lemond '01 Maillot Jaune, Lemond '02 Victoire, Lemond '03 Poprad, '79 AcerMex Windsor Carrera Professional(purchased new), '06 Bianchi Volpe, '88 GT Tequesta(purchased new), '01 Bianchi Grizzly, 1993 Trek 970 drop bar conversion

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 290 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 145 Times in 86 Posts
If you're with the Zurich(fit, ride..etc), then get a Lemond Poprad in the same frame size. Wonderful bike...light, fast, great tubing, and can take wider tires. I ride my Poprad more than my other road bikes. I'm currently running Panaracer Gravelking slicks on it in 700cx38.
fishboat is offline  
Old 07-26-20, 07:26 AM
  #7  
scubaman
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
My strong recommendation is to consider a new (anyway, new to you) bike. I assume by "trail" you mean some type of multi-purpose trail, like a rail-to-trail conversion, or maybe fire roads, and *not* single track. Still my recommendation would be to get a bike that can handle at least 40mm tires, with a relatively upright position, and maybe with flat bars (or similar - I particularly like Jones bars). Your current Lemond road bike, much as itís nice and somewhat adaptable, is not adaptable enough for that. Most immediately, it wonít fit wide tires.

Iím a lifelong roadie who started riding wider tires a few years ago, inspired by the teachings of Jan Heine and Bicycle Quarterly. Now I do everything from road rides with friends to urban commuting to gravel bikepacking on 48mm tires, and my road bikes are lonely and neglected. Wider tires at lower pressure are, in my experience, more comfortable and definitely more confidence-inspiring on all surfaces, and really not slower - or anyway not slower enough for me to care. Yes, I can ride most of the same surfaces with 28mm road tires, or 35mm cyclocross tires. But wider is better, and if you need to get something new anyway - as I strongly recommend - I suggest minimum clearance of 40mm or more. E.g., the Surly Bridge Club is available starting around $1000; a Jeff Jones complete bike is around $2000. Assuming you no longer plan to do fast group rides, either of those will comfortably handle essentially anything that you might want to do on two wheels, based on your posts.

I personally prefer a drop bar. But you might see if you find it easier to use the brakes on non-paved surfaces with a flat bar and MTB brake levers.
scubaman is offline  
Old 08-02-20, 06:41 PM
  #8  
hsuBM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
At 70 years, if you cannot safely negotiate road, then off-road will just present even more skill level demands. Stay on the Lemond and actually enjoy it on the road. Can east of Austin TX be that dicey on the road?

There are 70 year olds who are still working with very little compromise. I mean working physically as well as mentally. Its about the marbles.
I cannot agree with this more. I donít know the OP, but I can say that the vast majority of people I know over 55 canít touch their toes without help from a chair. I would only suggest to them that riding any type of bicycle anyplace where there are rocks greater in size than 0.010Ē if I disliked them and hoped to see them injured.

Lights are what you want to be looking into. You want to be at least as visible as a gray car in the shade on a sunny day. That means 300 lumens outta the tail light and 900 lumens minimum outta the front. Those numbers are where the close-calls in traffic start to have a significant drop in my excessive experience. $40 only buys you country road courtesy lights, be prepared to spend $$$ for safety in traffic. Itís worth it. Reflectors and vests are invisible to stoned touchscreen pilots and the DMV keeps giving them licenses.

next would be wider tires on the Lemond. If itíll fit 28s, do it. Itíll make the roads a lot less rough.

To be fair, I used to ride rather rocky rooty trails with 23c tires pumped up to 120lbs, but I was in my twenties and my muscles were fast enough and springy enough that I could just float through well enough. Iím only 36, very little down time in the last decade, and though Iím telling myself that the dirt has washed away exposing exponentially more rocks, end of the day whether the trails or my body has changed- 32c tires just arenít big enough at any psi for some of those trails anymore.

32c tires are seeming more and more to be the minimum acceptable on the road for me. I do still spin 23c in the winter for cutting slush, and thatís a fun challenge, but...

Iím at the point of getting a ďgravel bikeĒ for the road (+ occasional dirtpaths), and fixing up my old rigid 26Ē MTB as a gravel bike (hoping to try Compass Rats on it this autumn).
hsuBM is offline  
Old 08-08-20, 04:05 PM
  #9  
dwmckee
Senior Member
 
dwmckee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 1,935

Bikes: Co-Motion Cappuccino Tandem,'88 Bob Jackson Touring, Co-Motion Cascadia Touring, Open U.P., Ritchie Titanium Breakaway, Frances Cycles SmallHaul cargo bike. Those are the permanent ones; others wander in and out of the stable occasionally as well.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 211 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 93 Times in 60 Posts
Originally Posted by hsuBM View Post
I can say that the vast majority of people I know over 55 canít touch their toes without help from a chair. I would only suggest to them that riding any type of bicycle anyplace where there are rocks greater in size than 0.010Ē if I disliked them and hoped to see them injured.
You hang out with the wrong peolpe then. I am in my 60s and I race competitive gravel (at least until all of the events were cancelled this year). I routinely whoop people in their 20s and 30s, and I can still dust (literally) both of my teenagers too.
dwmckee is offline  
Old 08-08-20, 08:14 PM
  #10  
RockiesDad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 402
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 203 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 19 Times in 12 Posts
If you can swing it might think about getting a new more modern bike. Technology has really taken off in the last couple of years and you'll be amazed at what's out there now. Hydro disk brakes is one example. Frame material, geo, and tires are a few more cool items that make up a modern bike. Flat bar bikes might also be an option. There are many to choose from. Going used may be another thing to think about also. Many choices if you are thinking seriously wanting to get back into cycling. You won't regret it...
RockiesDad is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.